The former home of The Recording Academy was recently sold along with two adjacent residential parcels to a Texas-based developer for $10.5 million, real estate sources said. (photo by Brandon Wise)

PICO BLVD — The former Santa Monica headquarters of The Recording Academy, the organization that produces the music industry’s annual Grammy Awards, has been sold to developers along with two adjacent residential lots located on Santa Monica’s eastern border.

The price for the roughly 2.5 acres, including the 39,128-square-foot office building at 3402 Pico Blvd., was not disclosed, but real estate experts in Santa Monica said the three properties were purchased for $10.5 million.

Texas-based developer Trammell Crow Co. and investment firm Westport Capital Partners bought the parcels and will possibly develop housing to compliment the existing office space, which could be re-imagined to suit Internet start ups, post production houses or other creative uses, said Brad Cox, senior managing director with Trammell Crow, one of the nation’s largest real estate developers and investors.

“We like the east side of Santa Monica, and, in particular, the Pico corridor has dramatically improved,” said Cox, who also serves as the chairman of the Santa Monica Alliance, a joint effort of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and City Hall to attract and retain businesses.

“We’re really excited for the opportunity to create a project that provides an anchor at the east entrance to the city and can reactive that corner, which has sort of become a dead end,” Cox added.

Any development would conform to City Hall’s recently updated General Plan and Land Use and Circulation Element, Cox said.

“We’ll be working closely with the city and the community.”

The office building was constructed in 1969 and served as the home of The Recording Academy until 2009, when the group moved to a larger space in the nearby Lantana office park on Olympic Boulevard, home to many entertainment industry businesses.

The academy’s departure from Pico created a void, said Andy Agle, City Hall’s director of housing and economic development. Many small businesses, including restaurants, relied on employees of the academy for a notable portion of their sales.

“It’s a positive move to see something happening at the end of Pico,” Agle said.

Chamber President Laurel Rosen said Trammel Crow has an opportunity to “create a gateway project” for Santa Monica that would “compliment the residential character of the neighborhood and enhance the emerging and desirable retail to the west along Pico.”

Robert Kronovet, a real estate broker and property manager who co-chairs the Pico Improvement Organization, said the purchase by Trammel Crow “can’t hurt.”

“They’re a huge company with lots of cash and that building has been sitting vacant for two and a half years,” he said. “It’s certainly a remarkable opportunity.”

The business improvement organization has been working over the last six years to unify and transform Pico into more of an arts district that includes notable restaurants and entertainment venues on top of neighborhood serving mom-and-pops.

Cox said the proximity to the future Exposition Light Rail Line makes the area even more attractive.

kevinh@www.smdp.com

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